1. About 500,000 sharks could be killed for their natural oil for the production of coronavirus vaccines conservationists have warned, reports Sky News.
2. According to the report, one ingredient used in some coronavirus vaccine candidates is squalene, natural oil made in the liver of sharks.
3. Squalene is currently used as an adjuvant in medicine – an ingredient that increases the effectiveness of a vaccine by creating a stronger immune response.
4. GlaxoSmithKline British pharmaceutical company uses shark squalene in flu vaccines.
5. Reportedly, the company said it would manufacture a billion doses of this adjuvant for potential use in COVID-19 vaccines in May.
6. Shark Allies, a California-based group, suggests that ‘if the world’s population received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine containing the liver oil, around 250,000 sharks would need to be slaughtered, depending on the amount of squalene used’.
7. However, according to researchers, two doses might be needed to immunize the global population, which would increase the number of sharks to be killed to half a million.
8. Reportedly, to avoid the threat to shark populations, scientists are testing an alternative to squalene – a synthetic version made from fermented sugar cane.